VINITA, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation is investing $6 million into a collaborative bridge replacement and road repair project on County Road 4410 in the City of Vinita.

The project includes expansive work on the Will Rogers Turnpike Bridge, which crosses Interstate 44, and County Road 4410, which connects community residents in and around Craig County to the tribe’s Vinita Health Center and food distribution center and the Craig County Fairgrounds.

“It’s good for the Cherokee Nation to leverage its funding to make this kind of impact,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “When we think about a lot of things Cherokee Nation does, it happens in the form of direct assistance to citizens and that’s a great investment. But many other investments are good for entire regions and help with matters like economic development and public safety. When you’re talking about repairing a road and replacing an old bridge like this one over I-44, that really gets to all of those issues and we can do a whole lot more when we work together.”

The total project cost is more than $9 million and is a cooperative project between the Cherokee Nation, City of Vinita, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and Craig County officials.

“This project is very important to the City of Vinita. It ties so many things together. We have our county fairgrounds which has a tremendous amount of people coming in on a daily basis, our Vinita Health Center, the food distribution facility, the Anna Mitchell Cultural and Welcome Center – the economic development that these bring to the City of Vinita really necessitates a renewal of this overpass,” said Vinita Mayor Chuck Hoskin. “The greatest thing about it is it’s a partnership. No one entity has the money necessary to meet all of these needs, but by joining together and working together as true partners, we’re able to do that. At the City of Vinita, we’re proud to be a partner in this.”

The project is more than 60% complete.

  • Cherokee Nation investing $6M for Vinita bridge, road repair project

    Vinita Mayor Chuck Hoskin, right, and Brenden Mandrell, left, of Craig & Keithline Inc. Consulting Engineers, review project plans for the bridge replacement and road repair project on County Road 4410 in Vinita near the Cherokee Nation Vinita Health Center.

“Thousands of people, many of them Cherokee citizens, rely on this stretch of road to access the Cherokee Nation Vinita Health Center and food distribution facility. Investing in this road and bridge project is going to make that access safer and more efficient for many years,” said District 11 Tribal Councilor Victoria Vazquez.

Sherwood Construction was awarded the contract for the project.

“In just over three years, the Cherokee Nation has helped construct and rehabilitate over 140 miles of roads and build a number of bridges throughout the Cherokee Nation Reservation,” said Cherokee Nation Department of Infrastructure and Transportation Executive Director Michael Lynn. “That’s a monetary investment of more than $30 million that is helping connect Cherokee citizens to important services throughout the Cherokee Nation. All of these projects will have years and years of positive impact on our communities.”

Cherokee Nation is using its U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration Tribal Transportation Program funding for its portion of the Vinita project costs.